Boko Haram Releases Audio of Lone Christian Girl Held Captive Since February
08/28/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Leah Sharibu, a 15-year-old Christian girl abducted in February, is alive. Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group based in northern Nigeria, released an audio recording of Sharibu yesterday as proof of life. In the recording, Leah asks for President Buhari to help secure her release. She also asks for people to remember her and her family, and to assist them.
Our sources in Nigeria, who are in close contact with the family, have confirmed that it is in fact her voice in the recording. The sources shared, “Yes, her parents confirmed it is her voice in the audio and also that it is her face in the picture. She is the one.”
ICC spoke with Reverend Yakubu Pam, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria – 19 Northern States. While at a peace summit in Jos yesterday, he heard the Secretary to the Government of the Federation say that the Nigerian government is “making efforts to secure her release.” Rev. Pam also said that he and the other northern pastors at the summit will continue to raise concerns over Leah to determine what “making efforts” actually means.
Though it is encouraging to know that Leah is alive, in many ways, she is still at the beginning of her trials. According to her parents, “The government has not contacted [us] ever since she has been abducted and even today they have not contacted [us].” They say that only news agencies have contacted them. They have not heard from President Buhari, who has claimed to be working to free their daughter. They said that they “appreciate [everyone] who is working to ensure her release. [We] continue to plead for more pressure to be put on the government until she is released.”
Below is the translation of the recording, in which Leah is speaking Hausa:
“I am Leah Sharibu, the girl that was abducted in GGSS Dapchi. I am calling on the government and people of goodwill to intervene to get me out of my current situation. I also plead to the members of the public to help my mother, my father, my younger brother, and relatives. Kindly help me out of my predicament. I am begging you to treat me with compassion, I am calling on the government, particularly the president, to pity me and get me out of this serious situation. Thank you.”
Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, said, “This is amazing news to hear. Ever since the release of the other Dapchi girls, it has been a serious question of whether or not Leah was alive. We have hoped and prayed to hear that she is, and will continue to pray and work for her eventual release. Now is the time for President Buhari to show that he will truly work to rescue Leah from the hands of evil.”
For interviews with Nathan Johnson, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Christian Concern has learned that on 8/27/2018 Boko Haram released an audio clip of Leah Sharibu proving that she is still alive. Sharibu was kidnapped on 2/19/2018 as part of 110 girls taken by Boko Haram. Of those girls, Leah was the only Christian girl taken and is the only one that remains captive. ICC has worked to raise awareness of Leah Sharibu and see her rescued. This video was produced by the Leah Sharibu Foundation and thanks ICC as a partner organization.